ad » at

Chiefly in:   at hominem , at infinitum , at nauseam

Classification: English – cross-language – /t/-flapping

Spotted in the wild:

  • You’re trying to compare to things that are not similar, and then when criticized for it you rely on at hominem retorts. (Hollywood Reporter comment, July 22, 2014)
  • How many times are you going to argue at hominem? (Malta Today comment, Sept. 4, 2016)
  • Rosemary Owens told the ABC that the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is starting to identify “unscrupulous employers” who use unpaid trials “at infinitum in relation to a whole range of people”. (HC Online, Oct. 2, 2015)
  • As can be seen in previous images, the square indicating the focus center when focusing a minimum distance is much closer to the center at infinitum in the 1.4 than it is in 2.0. (Digital Photography Review forum, July 5, 2016)
  • This incident (was) discussed at nauseam 20 years ago when it happened. (Doug Gottlieb Show, CBS Sports Radio, Feb. 22, 2016)
  • All throughout the preseason, we in the media talked at nauseam about the Dodgers lack of a true leadoff hitter. (SoCal Sports, NBC Los Angeles, Apr. 4, 2016)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Leon Bambrick (Twitter, Sept. 30, 2016)

Compare ad » and, which results in and hominem, and infinitum, and and nauseam. The Latin preposition ad, meaning “to,” is a cognate of English at, both derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *ad-.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2016/10/01 |

entree » ontray

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • We only eat here twice a year its the best!! even though its sometimes a long wait its worh it! the apitizors,ontrays and deserts are amazing. (Restaurant review, July 18, 2007)
  • Does anyone know japanese Ontrays, Dinners/main courses, and/or Dessert recipes? (Yahoo! Answers, accessed 2009-01-03)
  • My boss asked me to bring two on-trays to our christmas party, but I honestly don’t know what to put on the trays. (Yahoo! Answers, accessed 2009-01-03)
  • Maybe after you have finished you could have lunch and include some ontrays ( wedding planning boards, Mar 9, 2006)

Analyzed or reported by:

This eggcorn is not very common: most people likely would try to look up an unfamiliar word if they recognize it as a borrowing from a foreign language. When it occurs, though, it is a classical cross-language eggcorn. As David Tuggy writes in his forum post:

> The imagery seems clear enough: entrees are often brought to diners on trays, so one might well think this was the reason for the name.

Note that on-tray/entree puns abound in the restaurant business, as a web search quickly shows, and that OnTray is also a brand name for a little tray-like container that attaches to shopping cart handles, used for holding snacks for children sitting in the shopping cart seat.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/01/04 |

Via Dolorosa » Via de la Rosa

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • I remember walking through Jerusalem with him as we absorbed the aromas of the streets, down the Via de la Rosa we went. (Search Light Ministries newsletter, 2004)
  • Red roses did not line the Villa de la Rosa as Jesus walked the streets to Calvary; Hearts and balloons did not display a welcoming for this mighty King, He bore thorns of injustice, hate, and sin upon His brow. (
  • At Nazareth, Jesus was unable to do all that He would have wanted. And on that terrible and glorious day when He walked the Via De La Rosa, He cried out to a city that He wanted to Save, but “you would not have it”… (The Bible NETWork, Aug 23, 2006)
  • For Palestinians of Jerusalem, getting a personal ID, which ought to be a simple affair, has become the new via de la Rosa. (Counterpunch, August 9, 2003)

Analyzed or reported by:

Wikipedia explains:

> Whereas the names of many roads in Jerusalem are translated into English, Hebrew, and Arabic for their signs, the name Via Dolorosa is used in all three languages.

The link between the crucifixion of Jesus and roses is not quite clear to me, but appears to exist in the minds of some writers who are unclear about the sense of “dolorosa”, creating an Italian or Spanish sounding eggcorn from the Latin.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2008/07/31 |

hominem » homonym

Chiefly in:   ad homonym

Classification: English – not an eggcorn – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • “I don’t speak for the “Religious right”, nor am I sure what is meant by the “Religious right”. I am however, quite suspect of those who attach labels in order to launch ad homonym attacks in lieu of legitimate debate.” (link)
  • Argumentum ad homonym or ‘Argument against the man’ is indeed the logical fallacy of claiming what a person says is untrue simply because of who it is (as*hole) who is making the argument rather than the validity of the argument itself. (link)
  • Your response to my questions was disrespectful, ad homonym, and tangential. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

It is only very rarely that we enter non-eggcorns into the database, but I am making an exception for _ad homonym_.

First of all, homonyms — or rather, homophones, i.e. words that sound alike but aren’t necessarily spelled alike — enter into the genesis of eggcorns themselves.

Second, because the _ad homonym_ malapropism illustrates very nicely what elements are required to make an eggcorn: it is a non-standard reshaping of an established term (check!), _homonym_ and _hominem_ are pronounced nearly the same (check!), but it _isn’t_ a re-interpretation that is based on (a correct understanding of the semantics of) the target word _homonym_.

In a typical eggcorn, the writer understands the sense of the word he or she actually employs; the problem is that the use takes up the place already occupied by a different word, often part of a set phrase. Here, however, the eggcorn users don’t give any sign that they know what a homonym is. In one of the examples, the writer obviously believes that _ad homonym_ means _against the man_ in Latin. It’s the Latin that is faulty, along with the recollection of what the expression is supposed to be, precisely. (And spell-checkers might have had their bit to add, too. Case in point: the spell-checker I just used on this entry didn’t know _hominem_ and suggested _hominid_. _Ad hominid_ also yields over a hundred Google hits, compared to several thousand for _ad homonym(s)_.)

The replacement of a “complicated phrase” by another “complicated phrase” is rarely an eggcorn: often, the writer is unclear about the meaning of both, not only about the original.

| 5 comments | link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2006/02/26 |

cacciatore » catchitore

Variant(s):  catchitori, catchatore, catchatori

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • “For your Luncheon Pleasure: May 2005 Menu for the Sons in Retirement luncheon at the Fremont Hills Country Club: Chicken Catchitori” (Meyer newsletter)
  • “Congrats to the filet mignon grilling, salmon fillet frying, chicken catchitore baking beast O lineman by the name of BIG CHEF MIKE!!” (link)
  • “No meatballs huh? I can live with that. How about Chicken Catchatore, it goes so well as a side with spaghetti and the meat literally falls off the bones.” (link)
  • “Chicken Catchatori Soup 3 cloves garlic 2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 stems fresh rosemary 2 stems fresh thyme 8oz fresh sliced …” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Ellen Meyer (University South News, Palo Alto CA, 28 December 2005)

One of the simple pleasures of Italian home-style cooking is the style of fricasseeing meat — most often chicken, though other meats can be treated in the same way — called, in Italian, alla cacciatora ‘hunter’s style’ or cacciatore or cacciatora (in French, chasseur). In food writing in English, cacciatore seems to be the most common variant, and there’s an alternative spelling cacciatori, in which the common pronunciation of word-final unaccented -e as /i/ in English is carried over into the spelling.

But four other spellings are not infrequent in English, and all involve the reshaping of the first syllable as catch; the spellings vary in how the medial unaccented vowel is spelled (i or a) and how the final vowel is spelled (e or i). All four are illustrated above. No doubt some of these occurrences are simply attempts at phonetic spelling in English, but I would imagine that at least some of these writers connect the word to the verb (or noun) catch: first you catch the chicken (or whatever), then you cook it. This would be lovely etymologically, since the English verb catch and the Italian verb cacciare ‘hunt’ have a common source in Latin capti:re ’seize’.

| 5 comments | link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/12/29 |